In more than 15 years organizing the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days festival, Diane Buszta has never seen a year like this one.
“We’ve had big years, small years, but this year was a real challenge to try and come up with some things that we could do to accommodate the pandemic guidance but still allow families and the community members to get out and do something,” Buszta said.
But with creative thinking and hard work, festival planners have made adjustments they hope will help this year’s citywide celebration remain a fun family affair.
Snowflake Days 2021 is set for Jan. 30 through Feb. 14.
Although staples such as the chili challenge, children’s carnival, Miss Coon Rapids Pageant and kids medallion hunt are canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, several fresh events will get participants outdoors and may even become new traditions.
New events include two community parades, a snow sculpture competition, a disc golf tournament, a snowflake challenge and skating at Sank Creek Park.
Parades are scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 2 and Feb. 4. They’ll feature fire trucks, police vehicles, the city float, lights and music. Parade watchers will also have a chance to support to the ACBC Food Shelf by bringing donations to designated drop sites.
The Feb. 2 parade will travel through neighborhoods in the northern part of the city, beginning at Crooked Lake Park and winding south to 109th Avenue and Magnolia Street, where it will end at the southern point of Moor Park. Donation drop locations are in the parking lots at Crooked Lake Park (13180 Crooked Lake Blvd.), Sand Creek Elementary (12156 Olive St. NW) and Moor Park (just north of 109th Avenue on Magnolia Street). Drop-off times are 5:30-7 p.m.
The Feb. 4 parade will include neighborhoods in the southern part of the city, beginning at 119th Avenue and Wedgewood Lane, and winding to 105th Avenue at Riverview Park. Donation drop sites are in the parking lots at Fire Station 3 (2831 113th Ave. NW) and Riverview Park (2420 105th Ave.) Drop-off times are 5:30-7 p.m.
The snow sculpture contest features cash prizes ($200 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third), and the festival will release a map of locations Jan. 29 for public viewing. Participating households must register at coonrapidsmn.gov by Monday, Jan. 25, and will have until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 11 to complete their sculptures.
The disc golf tournament will be Jan. 30 and requires preregistration by Thursday, Jan. 28. It will take place at Wintercrest Park, 10300 Woodcrest Drive NW and costs $22 a player.
The Snowflake Challenge is open Jan. 30 through Feb. 14. Contestants can get creative and make snowflakes using whatever materials they choose, then snap a photo and post it to the Coon Rapids Women of Today Facebook page with the hashtag #coonrapidswomenoftodaysnowflakes. The snowflake with the most “likes” will win a $25 gift card.
The Skate at Sand Creek Park event will be noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 6. Hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available for purchase. Bring your own ice skates, because skates won’t be available for rental.
The adult medallion hunt will take place as usual. It begins Jan. 30, and you must purchase a Snowflake Days button to participate. The prize is bigger than usual, with the winner taking home $1,000.
Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during an ending ceremony at 3 p.m. Feb. 14 at Coon Rapids City Hall, 11155 Robinson Drive.
Find details, maps and more at coonrapidssnowflakedays.com.